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David Kohn completes White Building arts hub

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[First look + plans] David Kohn Architects has completed this £550,000 transformation of a former sweet factory into an arts centre on the Olympic Fringe in Hackney Wick

The London Legacy Development Corporation-backed project is part of a MUF Art/Architecture-designed masterplan for the area and features artists studios, a gallery, café and micro-brewery.

In January last year Kohn beat Gort Scott, Glowacka Rennie, Duggan Morris Architects and Union North to win a competition for the project.

Kohn’s winning proposal set out to source all the projects’ contracts and fittings from local Hackney Wick-based suppliers.

‘All of the windows, the joinery, the sign painting, the metalwork for the stairs – they were made here in hackney wick,’ he said.

He added: ‘Prior to the Olympics there was a masterplan for the Hackney Wick area which looked to flatten it and replace it with high rise apartments overlooking the canal – if the boom had continued this probably would have all been residential.

‘There is a lot that is great about this area. It has the largest concentration of artists in Europe. What’s great about this project is that it has rescued in perpetuity some of the fabric of Hackney Wick.’

The centre has been handed on a ten-year lease to arts charity Space which will run the space and manage the building with LLDC support.

LLDC chair Daniel Moylan said: ‘The White Building and our other public realm projects are examples of how we are already delivering an Olympic legacy now. Small interventions like this can make a big difference in building community spirit and improving the quality of areas around the Park.’

Space chief executive Anna Harding said: ‘The White Building is a new sort of space where creative people can come together, with a focus on work at the intersection of art, technology and sustainability. It provides a beacon for an area full of experimentation and artists.

‘It places art and artists at the heart of change and opens up the waterfront for public enjoyment. Industrial buildings in this area have housed artists’ studios for decades, The White Building demonstrates that quality buildings and space for artists are worth retaining in regeneration.’

The scheme features bleacher-style outdoor seating and a lambs-wool insulated roof.

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